Managing the emotional side of chronic pain day in and day out may seem difficult and lonely. Friends and family try to understand what it’s like, but nobody truly knows how it feels to live in pain unless they themselves have done it.

However, finding the appropriate support is a critical component to navigating life with chronic pain. That’s why we started Faces of Pain, an online forum where people can post their experiences, and find inspiration and motivation for getting through the tough days. Sharing your experience can be incredibly cathartic.

Chronic pain patients may find comfort in the creativity of sharing experiences on Faces of Pain.

Some of the people who have posted on Faces of Pain include:

  • Jamie, who loves colorful art and manages to stay positive by surrounding herself with inspirational quotes and people. She finds joy in making people laugh and appreciating the beauty of the world around her.
  • Thomas receives inspiration from his 11 grandchildren and the animals he cares for through the pet rescue he runs. Dedicating himself to a cause larger than himself—working to build a large pet rescue shelter—keeps him busy and focused on moving forward.
  • Erin is fueled by her love of music. “I realized that music was a more effective pain management tool than heavy narcotics,” she writes.
  • Kelly stays positive by focusing on the little things, and she searches for reasons to laugh.
  • Jill Sandler spends each morning in prayer, which she says helps her feel strong and peaceful. Jill also gleans inspiration from her family and 4-month-old grandson.

Raising awareness of chronic pain on Faces of Pain. #WhatWillYourVerseBe #RaiseChronicPainAwareness

Faces of Pain not only connects those people living with chronic pain, but also seeks to raise awareness about the condition. 1 in every 4 U.S. adults have experienced pain lasting longer than 24 hours, according to the National Institutes of Health. Chronic pain is a leading cause of disability and comprises a large proportion of overall health care spending.

Its causes are many—fibromyalgia, cancer, sports injuries, migraines, and arthritis, to name a few. However, despite the large number of people suffering on a daily basis, chronic pain isn’t widely discussed or understood in our society. That’s why raising awareness is so important.

Chronic pain’s minimal awareness further isolates people living with it. Few people understand unless they’ve lived with a chronic condition. With no end in sight, many people struggle to maintain normal work, family, and friend relationships. Patients go from doctor to doctor, treatment to treatment, searching for relief.

While navigating along this lonely journey, connecting with others who are going through the same experiences can be incredibly helpful. It can also provide you with ideas for coping, such as listening to music or starting an art project. Music, for example, has been shown to reduce pain up to 21%, according to research published in the UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Participating in Faces of Pain helps to raise awareness of chronic pain and connects patients to each another.

To participate in Faces of Pain, simply visit the website PainDoctor.com/faces-of-pain, and click the “What Will Your Verse Be?” blue button. Then, fill out your name and a few details about how you stay inspired and cope with chronic pain. Other discussion points include identifying things that you’re positive about and sharing any goals you want to accomplish in the future. Last, upload a photo and click “Submit.”

Feel free to share the website link on Twitter with the hashtag #WhatWillYourVerseBe.

You can also use the hashtag #WhatWillYourVerseBe to find and connect with other people who contributed to the Faces of Pain project.

The saying, “What will your verse be?” comes from a Walt Whitman poem quoted in the Dead Poet’s Society: “That you are here—that life exists and identity, that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

This quote underscores that you may not have control over the pain you’re experiencing, but you can both shape and share your experience. Many people find that sharing their experiences gives meaning to even the dark days. Your verse could even give hope to others who are struggling.

No matter how difficult your feelings, you can leave a mark on the world through creativity, helping yourself and others along the way.

If you’d like to delve further into the chronic pain community, please visit the online support group ChronicPainSupportGroup.com. With more than 30,000 members participating and pain doctors overseeing the conversation, you’ll be able to connect with others and continue finding inspiration with the added benefit of sharing stories and making connections.

Social support is critical for managing stress, improving mood, and even reducing pain, according to research from the University of Malaga. Researchers found people experiencing chronic pain who enjoyed strong social networks took more active steps to cope with symptoms, such as trying a new hobby, rather than less effective coping strategies, such as expressing their dissatisfaction.

Researchers found that more active coping strategies also improved subjects’ mood and improved their overall functioning.

Building strong social networks helps reduce pain and improve mood, research says.

Joining the online support group requires a Facebook account. Simply log onto the site and request to join the group. It’s closed to protect the privacy of the members. However, group administrators will quickly approve your join request and you’ll be on your way to making new connections.

Navigating your way through life with chronic pain may seem insurmountable some days. There’s no denying that. But hopefully by connecting with others and turning your pain into something positive, you can find a shred of relief and hope for the future. You’re not alone. There are thousands of other people just like you, who are looking for people who understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain.

Find them on Faces of Pain and the online support group.

Do you plan on posting on Faces of Pain or joining the chronic pain support group?

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